Murder Cruise: The Ship HD Remake Announced

Darling, isn't she beautiful? Let's cruise upon her and definitely not do murders and I'm sure it'll all end WONDERFULLY.

A cursed ship sails the cyberseas. Many who see it fall desperately in love, longing to walk its decks and stealthily murder its other passengers so they can have the ship all to themselves. They follow rituals to summon the ship and they try to create replicas, but their love is doomed. This ship is The Ship, and it is returning once more as The Ship: HD [official site].

After failing to Kickstart a sequel to the first-person cruise ship stealth murder simulator in 2012, Blazing Griffin have scaled their plans down to a “high definition” remake of the original game.

The Ship is a rare beauty. It’s a competitive multiplayer FPS set about a cruise ship in the 1920s, where players roleplay as guests roaming the ship. Only each player has been told to murder one of the others. And no one knows who’s targeting them. You need to gather weapons and off your target without being seen or murdered yourself while following needs like eating, defecating, and socialising. You’re forced to be vulnerable while trying to exploit the same in your quarry. It was always a bit wonky in practice, but what a dream! That’s what inspires such tragic love.

It began life as a Half-Life 2 mod in 2004, graduating to a full commercial release with a single-player campaign in 2006. Developers Outerlight turned the Hollywood-set sequel into 2010’s Bloody Good Time, and then shut down. Blazing Griffin picked up rights to The Ship in 2011 and tried to crowdfund a sequel, but only drew £18,247 in pledges towards their £128,000 goal and so got nothing. The series and the very idea have proven difficult to make commercially successful, but these people are in love. Bless ’em.

Blazing Griffin plan for The Ship: HD to be the old game but prettier, launching in “early 2016”. Former Outerlight lead programmer Jason Kocemba has joined the team too. That’s about all I can tell you about the game right now, but what more is there to know?

Speaking about the failed Kickstarter and sequel plans, Blazing Griffin say in the announcement:

“… without the funding to proceed, we couldn’t take it forward. The size and scope of the project was simply too much for a small, newly formed studio to take on, so we worked on a number of other projects with an aim to revisiting The Ship franchise at a later date.”

You poor, lovesick fools. Perhaps you’ll find your lady love this time. If you wish to catch a glimpse of her, the original game is £1.74 in the Steam sale. Or there’s this here HD announcement trailer:

16 Comments

  1. draglikepull says:

    The original game was fun, but the AI wasn’t good enough to play it single-player, and there was never a good enough player base to play it multiplayer.

  2. Mollusc Infestation says:

    This has made my week. The Ship has provided some of the most hilariously fun multiplayer gaming that i’ve had the pleasure to experience.

  3. Kollega says:

    This is pretty good news. I actually have The Ship in my Steam library, but I never even got to installing it on the presumption that there aren’t likely to be any servers. Although I don’t know if I’ll manage to convince myself to buy the HD re-release before it loses all players too =P

    • PseudoKnight says:

      There are a couple dozen servers right now, half of them with good player counts. I played a couple times in the last year. Still great fun. Like many things, it’s best with friends over voice chat, so active servers are kind of moot anyway. There’s no progression system that requires a minimum player count to function properly.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      Pretty much every time I’ve attempted to play the game over the years I’ve managed to find a server – albiet, there is usually only one or two running, with a handful of players in them (though enough to play a game). At odd times they might have many more players, just depending on your luck. It was never super busy online but the game never really died off like the majority of games.

      Anyway, The Ship is a genuinely fun and different game experience, so it’s worth a punt for the times when you load it up and find a server with people to play with.

  4. NonCavemanDan says:

    This is a game that makes me want to get a big bunch of my friends together and do a LAN-party murder-mystery evening…minus the mystery because it turns out IT WAS ALL OF US ALL ALONG!!!

  5. mwoody says:

    What I recall of the ship: it sounded like a great idea, but then Assassin’s Creed did the exact same gameplay in their multiplayer section, stealing their thunder.

    For those who have played both: can you compare/contrast the two games, AC multiplayer and The Ship?

    • Pantalaimon says:

      As Mr Chug said below, AC’s take on it had polish but The Ship is kind of a gem in the tradition of classic PC multiplayer titles. If you are a fan of that kind of experience (which is a really nebulous experience to try to describe, admittadly), then I can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t enjoy what the game has to offer. The mechanics just knit together every time, probably with less flourish, but there’s something unique to these PC games that repurpose old FPS engines into something completely different.

      Which isn’t to say The Ship doesn’t offer some spectacularly brutal moments: there are few things as dreadful as when your cabin door suddenly opens at the end of a round, and your co-passenger gives you a dead-eye stare, before whipping out whatever they are carrying and proceeding to either bludgeon your brains in…. or make their way to the toilet and hide there instead.

  6. innerdrum says:

    Made a mistake buying this game when was originally released.
    I expected a much more robust single player campaign, i’m from Argentina so, playing online is hard ’cause ping/latency.
    Anyway i guess it’s shame on me for not inquiring more about the game before buying.

  7. Mr Chug says:

    AC multiplayer was more polished, faster paced and probably more inherently fun for the solo player or small groups, but the Ship benefited from a greater range of mechanics that lent extremely well to playing with 6+ friends, particularly at LAN. Assassin’s Creed has nothing quite like getting arrested at the same time as your target and frantically racing to find the one shiv in prison to finish the job while your target is doing the same.

    Really happy to hear this is happening, if only so it gains enough attention to increase the player base (and therefore server count) again!

  8. kwyjibo says:

    I played the original mod and it was fun, so was the full game. But how can something like The Ship sustain a sizable online community?

    • PseudoKnight says:

      I see this type of response a lot to various games, but I can’t make sense of it. If at any time you can go find a multiplayer server and have fun, why does it matter what the total player count is? I’ve seen very little correlation between my enjoyment of a game and the total number of players. We don’t need a popular vote to legitimize what games we choose to play. The only time player count matters is if there’s progression and matchmaking systems that require a minimum total player count to function well.

  9. *Junon says:

    I enjoyed what little of The Ship I played to get Bloody Good Time when it launched, and I had a real blast with it for its short lifespan. I really enjoyed the streamlined, faster-paced gameplay compared to The Ship. A pity it never got more recognition.

  10. Meehrrible says:

    I got the original in some bundle and maybe with a free copy to pass. The end result was that me and two or three friends hosted games behind a password and had a lot of fun.

    The biggest problem was that the AI characters, who filled in for the rest of the players, in one map liked to get stuck in the prison exit area – where a number of cameras and guards made killing that mark unpleasantly difficult.

  11. David Bliff says:

    Actually it was a Half Life 1 mod originally. One of the last to come out before HL2, I believe. I think the HL mod was actually more fun than the Source Engine version in many ways. All the NPCs having Dr. Kleiner’s voice was delightful.

  12. manny says:

    Is the trailer supposed to scare the crap out of you?